Background Alkaptonuria (AKU) is an ultra-rare disease associated to the lack of an enzyme involved in tyrosine catabolism. This deficiency results in the accumulation of homogentisic acid (HGA) in the form of ochronotic pigment in joint cartilage, leading to a severe arthropathy. Secondary amyloidosis has been also unequivocally assessed as a comorbidity of AKU arthropathy. Composition of ochronotic pigment and how it is structurally related to amyloid is still unknown. Methods We exploited Synchrotron Radiation Infrared and X-Ray Fluorescence microscopies in combination with conventional bio-assays and analytical tools to characterize chemical composition and morphology of AKU cartilage. Results We evinced that AKU cartilage is characterized by proteoglycans depletion, increased Sodium levels, accumulation of lipids in the peri-lacunar regions and amyloid formation. We also highlighted an increase of aromatic compounds and oxygen-containing species, depletion in overall Magnesium content (although localized in the peri-lacunar region) and the presence of calcium carbonate fragments in proximity of cartilage lacunae. Conclusions We highlighted common features between AKU and arthropathy, but also specific signatures of the disease, like presence of amyloids and peculiar calcifications. Our analyses provide a unified picture of AKU cartilage, shedding a new light on the disease and opening new perspectives. General significance Ochronotic pigment is a hallmark of AKU and responsible of tissue degeneration. Conventional bio-assays have not yet clarified its composition and its structural relationship with amyloids. The present work proposes new strategies for filling the aforementioned gap that encompass the integration of new analytical approaches with standardized analyses.
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|Titolo:||A new light on Alkaptonuria: A Fourier-transform infrared microscopy (FTIRM) and low energy X-ray fluorescence (LEXRF) microscopy correlative study on a rare disease|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|
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